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Happy Golden Bowl in El Cerrito - Good Sichuan Eats

theSauce | Mar 25, 2012 10:06 AM

Went to Happy Golden Bowl AKA Old Sichuan (in Chinese) in El Cerrito across the street from Safeway and Marshall's last night. Was quite surprised with the food there and it's pretty darn good not to mention uber cheap and authentic. We ordered the following:

1. Green onion pancakes for the kids - Good
2. Water boiled fish - Very good
3. Fuqi Feipian (Couple's sliced lung - sliced beef and beef tripe in spicy sauce) - Very good
4. Sliced beef tendons - Good
5. Chendu plain jello - Meh, it was okay, tasted too much like the previous two dishes
6. Cross the bridge rice noodles - Excellent
7. Sliced lamb in iron pot and hot rocks - Good
8. Pocket tofu - Very good
9. Stir-fried A-chai with garlic- Excellent
10. Five inner stew - Not that good
11. Steam rice for 6 adults and 2 kids

They also had sesame bread, but since we had rice and green onion pancakes we did not partake. The highlights were the Water Boiled Fish which was more like a soup than your usual Water Boiled Beef which is oily and saucy. It had soy bean sprouts with lots of fish slices and peppers. It's enough to serve 10 people. The Cross the Bridge Rice Noodles were also excellent. It's a soupy rice noodle dish with very rich and dense pork bone broth with Chinese chives, thinly sliced Virginia ham, pork, and shrimp. The Pocket Tofu and A-chai with garlic was also good.

The cold dishes: Husband and wife, plain jello, beef tendons all had the same type of Sichuan chili oil sauce, so it was only okay as I've had it so many times now that they all taste the same after awhile - spicy and numbing. The Five Inner Stew pot was my least favorite, a little too gamy and not enough spices. The sliced lamb in iron pot and hot stones was more of a gimmick to me than a really good dish. Sort of like rebirth of sizzling platter 2.0 for ooohs and ahhhs. Also, the dishes were a little too salty, but that's Chengdu cuisine for you. I would ask for less salt next time.

Overall the food was really good and only $120 out the door with tips and tax included which I thought was very cheap for authentic Sichuan cuisine. The service was prompt and portion was good as well. Oh yea, Sichuan pickles and red bean soup dessert included in the meal.

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